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Professional Organiser Q&A – Rachel Papworth

I‘ve had lots of favourable feedback from you about the series of interviews with professionals organisers, and lots of questions to ask – so today I am pleased to welcome Rachel Papworth who has kindly taken some time to give you some tips and advice.

Rachel runs her own organising business (Green and Tidy) and is also a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers here in the UK (apdo-uk).

Today I have focused the questions around the “green” aspects of decluttering and organising – and as Rachel’s company name shows a major focus towards this side of things I thought she would be the perfect person to ask!

There is loads to read here, and I’m sure you’ll pick up some tips along the way – I particularly like the tips for recycling and ways to do it that you may not have heard of before – so let’s get going shall we!


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Your business name itself suggests that you have a focus on green living – why are you so passionate about this?

“We live on a unique and amazing planet and I want all people, including future generations, to enjoy it.”


Why do you think its important to recycle/donate/let others make use of your unwanted items whenever possible?

“We’re currently using up the Earth’s resources one and a half times as fast as the Earth can renew them, and the situation’s getting worse.

At this rate, by the 2030’s, we’ll be using them up twice as fast.

It’s up to those of us who’ve got more than enough to use resources wisely – when we get the stuff we’re not using back into circulation, other people can use it instead of buying something new.”


What are the main places you can (and should) get rid of items when decluttering your home?

“Charity/thrift shops are great, of course. Not only do you get your unwanted stuff back into circulation, you also help a good cause to raise funds.

Your local Freegle/Freecycle group is a superb resource too – Offer the stuff you don’t want and arrange to have it collected by someone who’d like to take it off your hands. They’re particularly good for stuff that charity shops can’t/won’t take, like electrical goods, items that need repairing, non-sealed cosmetics and toiletries, foodstuffs…

If you’re in the UK, your local council can give you details on what can be recycled in your area and how.

And of course, you might prefer to raise some money for yourself through eBay or a car boot/yard/garage sale in your local area”


I am sure you know of many places that are out there to donate/recycle things – can you give us some of the more unusual ways you can donate/recycle?

“Some of my favourites are:-

  • Do you live near a branch of Lush in the UK? Save all plastic lids (food, cosmetics, everything) and drop them in to be remade into their black tubs.
  • Have you got old clothes and textiles that are too worn for a charity shop to sell? Bag them up together, label them “rags” and drop them into a charity shop. They can sell them for recycling.


Surely its a lot of work to take things to loads of different places – most people just want to get rid of things there and then and don’t have time to do otherwise – do you have any tips for speeding up the process?

“You’re right. It’s important to be clear about your priorities.

If you’ve got a huge backlog of clutter to clear, and you’re under pressure of time (perhaps your house is on the market), it might not be practical, for example, to sort through every scrap of paper to decide what can be reused before it goes for recycling.

Only you know where to strike the balance between what works for your life and what works for the planet (i.e. for other people and future generations).

I recently worked with someone who had a huge store of aluminium foil. Her local authority doesn’t collect it for recycling but, because she knows it IS recyclable, she couldn’t bear to throw it away. She was holding onto it in the hope that she’d find a way to recycle it. In a situation like that, ask yourself, “How realistic is it that I’ll be able to recycle this?”

Are there any other things you want to mention about recycling etc?….

“In our throwaway society, it’s tempting to think we’ve done our bit when we recycle.

Recycling isn’t a solution on its own. In fact, if you’re trying to minimise your impact, it needs to be close to your last resort.

Before you recycle, see if you can reuse (or get something reused by someone else).

And, before you get to that point, avoid acquiring in the first place.

That includes choosing not to buy disposable stuff, even if it can be recycled.”


Lastly – Do you have a top tip to make getting organised a little easier?

“Think categories. Put like with like and keep things where you’re most likely to want to use them.

And remember, you’re not alone. Almost every client I work with asks me, “Is my house the worst you’ve seen?”

There are so many people out there struggling with clutter.

If you’re one of the few who’ve taken steps to get help and address the issue, you’re outstandingly courageous”



Profile pic - looking right
Green and Tidy helps people all over the world declutter and create homes they love. Check out Rachel’s website – you can even get a free masterclass, How to declutter and stay decluttered FOREVER.

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